Ebay or fairs? The choice is yours.

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tonymckendrick
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Ebay or fairs? The choice is yours.

Post by tonymckendrick »

The postcard hobby is booming, but attendances are on the decline at almost every fair I go to. The one exception this year was Shepton Mallet, where Barrie Rollinson managed to attract a huge attendance. The Postcard Show has shrunk to 3 days, Bloomsbury has shrunk by a third, Bracknell is up for sale, takings at Woking and York were only respectable because of trade buying. Unfortunately, more and more collectors are staying at home or just going occasionally to the local fair because it is far more convenient to buy on ebay. OK you pay over the odds for anything decent, but it saves a wasted journey.
At the Picture Postcard Show Liz and I decorate the backing boards with displays of cards for sale. Last year we had a rare Tuck set on display for sale for £36 but nobody was interested. When we got back we put it on ebay where we sold it for £230. I try to support as many fairs as I can but I seem to be selling more to the trade than the public. Fairs are much more enjoyable, but ebay is much more profitable. What do collectors think is the answer?

Moonraker
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Re: Ebay or fairs? The choice is yours.

Post by Moonraker »

Shepton Mallet does bring a lot of dealers to an area not over-blessed with large fairs. (In fact when I went to its predecessor at Yeovil, I found it too crowded for comfort.)

eBay is here to stay, for better or worse, and I guess we have to live with it. As I've said in another thread, if I still relied exclusively on fairs I would have added very little to my collection in the past year, and many of my eBay acquisitions have come from a long way away, not least overseas.

The only items I sell on eBay are duplicates - sometimes bought by mistake or to replace inferior copies. After eBay charges, I usually get something approaching full retail - perhaps three times what a dealer would offer me.

Again as I've mentioned before, the average age of dealers is quite high (you're quite young, Tony, and your, if I may say, charming wife even more so), and I wonder if there will be enough new blood to replace them.

Moonraker

Andrew
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Post by Andrew »

For me, it's the fairs.

However, I don't drive, so I tend to be limited to those within a train-ride distance.

Local fairs I go to less often than I used to, as I find dealers do not have a huge turnover of stock, so I would be mainly looking through the same stuff again.

I try to do London once a year, Canterbury 2 or 3 times, and maybe a couple others. Antique shops are sometimes a good source for bargains, but most find they don't sell many, so are loathe to stock them. I found a good place in Rochester, and despite being told the owner has a large turnover, it's really only worth visiting once a year.

Any holiday finds me scouring local shops. Hay-on-Wye has proved to be a good source on a couple of occasions - also for old engraving or prints, which are another side of my interest.

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Post by Moonraker »

Caveat emptor applies more on eBay; not so much rogues but ignorant people who don't know their subject; I've learnt to query anything at all uncertain, and in half-a-dozen cases have had the vendor accepted that they had erred. There's one card on eBay now to which the description, itself a bit garbled, just does not match. I queried this with the vendor a couple of days ago, but haven't heard back.

Mind you, I'm a member of a World War One Forum, where members frequently rant about some of the questionable medals and other hardware on offer on eBay. And sooner or later I shall be offering several items (curious and an album of old prints) about which I know nothing.


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RAFPOL
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Post by RAFPOL »

:D I have only ever visited one particular fair on a few occasions at Northampton. At one time I would, and still do to a lesser degree, buy cards from my favourite dealer. However, yes, ebay is here to stay and I must confess to using it most of the time to add cards to my collection. Is it laziness? Can't be bothered to travel the twelve miles or so from my Wellingborough home to Northampton? I don't really know but I do enjoy ebay. Perhaps we shouls learn to live with both fairs and ebay?

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Post by RAFPOL »

:D I have only ever visited one particular fair on a few occasions at Northampton. At one time I would, and still do to a lesser degree, buy cards from my favourite dealer. However, yes, ebay is here to stay and I must confess to using it most of the time to add cards to my collection. Is it laziness? Can't be bothered to travel the twelve miles or so from my Wellingborough home to Northampton? I don't really know but I do enjoy ebay. Perhaps we should learn to live with both fairs and ebay?

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Post by Andrew »

I would like to add another point in favour of the fairs. As I walked into the Westgate Hall in Canterbury on Saturday morning, the smell of bacon being cooked wafted across the hall. Having a hot bacon roll partway through the proceedings, and the smell of bacon and sausages being grilled makes the fair far superior to e-bay.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!! :D

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Post by RAFPOL »

Very nice too Andrew, it sounds as though they do well in the catering department down there in Canterbury. I like fairs because you can see what you get before parting with your cash. Among my collecting interests are the cards of the Edwardian actress Gladys Cooper. Recently I bid for three cards on ebay and today I received three "Blown Up" photographic copies of the cards. For the sake of a couple of quid I have decided to make a note of the seller and not to bid on his auction again, rather than go through the motions of complaining and having emails etc. flowing back and forth. OK, hands up, I was duped! Once bitten, twice shy.
Think I will make an honest attempt to make the next Northampton fair!
"John Boy"

Moonraker
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Post by Moonraker »

RAFPOL wrote:... I received three "Blown Up" photographic copies of the cards. For the sake of a couple of quid I have decided to make a note of the seller and not to bid on his auction again, rather than go through the motions of complaining and having emails etc. flowing back and forth. OK, hands up, I was duped! Once bitten, twice shy.

"John Boy"
Could have been a genuine mistake by the vendor. I had something similar happen six weeks ago, see my thread of September 3, "Why are PCs more expensive...", and the guy put matters right without fuss, though I still think his description was sloppy. When I sell on eBay, I try to be as honest as I can, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a recent purchaser will be content with a slightly tatty card I've just sold him for at least double its worth after he got in a bidding contest with someone else. When I listed the card, I was looking at it under artificial light and mentioned some defects, but when I looked at it again in daylight it looked worse that I had thought.


Moonraker[/url]

Moonraker
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Post by Moonraker »

Moonraker wrote:
RAFPOL wrote:... I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a recent purchaser will be content with a slightly tatty card I've just sold him for at least double its worth after he got in a bidding contest with someone else. When I listed the card, I was looking at it under artificial light and mentioned some defects, but when I looked at it again in daylight it looked worse that I had thought.

Moonraker[/url]
I needn't have worried. I've just had "excellent" feedback from this purchaser.

Moonraker

marianne
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Re: Ebay or fairs? The choice is yours.

Post by marianne »

I am elderly and not mobile however I still have a very lively interest in collecting my chosen topics in postcards. eBay and dealers are my only hope to add to the collection. Also living in the wilds of East Anglia we must be the worst served area of the UK for Postcard Fairs with only Norwich in October within reach. Given the choice I would definitely prefer to attend Fairs.
Marianne

reflections
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Re: Ebay or fairs? The choice is yours.

Post by reflections »

I disagree with Tony about fair attendances - York had an improved attendance from 2007, as did Nottingham in February, and Cheltenham has certainly revived under its new management. As for eBay v. fairs, surely these are just two different buying/selling opportunities with separate dimensions. At a fair a dealer with a stock of say 30,000 cards has numerous opportunities to make sales. How long would it take to put that lot on the internet? At a fair, chance purchases from collectors you don't know can happen anytime. Fairs are surely also crucial for contacts. How many people are going to offer cards for sale in quantity to a dealer they've met on eBay? Finally, this is an interesting topic and I might use it in June PPM, quoting from some of the opinions expressed!

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kevinramsdale
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Re: Ebay or fairs? The choice is yours.

Post by kevinramsdale »

reflections wrote:I disagree with Tony about fair attendances - York had an improved attendance from 2007, as did Nottingham in February, and Cheltenham has certainly revived under its new management. As for eBay v. fairs, surely these are just two different buying/selling opportunities with separate dimensions. At a fair a dealer with a stock of say 30,000 cards has numerous opportunities to make sales. How long would it take to put that lot on the internet? At a fair, chance purchases from collectors you don't know can happen anytime. Fairs are surely also crucial for contacts. How many people are going to offer cards for sale in quantity to a dealer they've met on eBay? Finally, this is an interesting topic and I might use it in June PPM, quoting from some of the opinions expressed!

Important to note that Tony's original post was back in September last year - so the improved fair attendances (which I do not dispute) have come since then. How many of the patrons were looking to buy cards to sell at much better prices on eBay though?

You wouldn't actually want, or need, to put 30,000 cards on eBay in any great hurry as (in sharp contrast to selling at fairs) as a 50%+ sales ratio is not an unrealistic aim - and at higher prices than could be obtained at a fair.

And with minimal "what can you do this for - I am trade you know" to boot.
Kevin

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Reminiscene
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Re: Ebay or fairs? The choice is yours.

Post by Reminiscene »

My collection of postcards has come from fairs (both postcard and antique) and eBay. I've had very good acquisitions from both. But if pressed to make a decision on this, I would plump for the fairs. To my mind there is nothing better than actually seeing the item prior to buying. Unfortunately for me, it seems that most fairs in my area are held at weekends - when I'm at work :(
Reminiscene Vintage Postcards and Photographs
http://www.reminiscene.co.uk and http://reminiscene1.blogspot.com

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